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FAQ’s for Hardwood floor refinishing in Westchester County

Hardwood floor refinishing – Frequently asked questions – Westchester County

FAQ's for Hardwood floor refinishing Weschester - Frequently asked questionsQ. How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors from start to finish? 
This depends on what type of polyurethane you are using -oil based or water based.  Oil based tends to take longer – often 3-4 days plus drying time (longer if for larger jobs) and water based tends to dry faster, so it’s often 2 days (longer for larger jobs).  Click here for a full explanation on how long does it take to refinish hardwood floors?  Click here for a full explanation on water vs oil based polyurethane.


Please note that this article may contain affiliate links.  You can read my full disclosure at the bottom of the page.


Q. What if my hardwood floors are currently covered with carpet, vinyl, tile or laminate?
We will remove and haul away flooring materials that are currently on top your hardwood as well as prep and/or repair the exposed hardwood floor for restoration. Some of our Westchester customers prefer to do this work themselves; others prefer that we do this work.


Hardwood floor refinishing FAQsQ. Is there a lot of dust when sanding the floors?
Yes, the process is a bit messy, and we ofter 2 solutions.  First, with our standard process, the dust goes into a vacuum bag, and we vacuum between each coat as well as add plastic to all areas not being done.  Second, we do offer a dust extraction system with a vacuum suction tube so the dust goes straight outside into the dust containment system.  While no process is 100% dustless, it does take care of 90-95% of the dust.  To read more about dustless sanding vs sandless refinishing click here.


Q. Can you change the color of the hardwood?
Yes, you can go from light to dark, or dark to light or anywhere in between.  Click here for a full explanation: Can you change the color of your hardwood flooring and how the process works.  And, click here to see Hardwood flooring stain trends to see which colors are most in style for Westchester County.


sanding hardwood floors westchesterQ. What if we have pet stains on the floor?
We come across this often. If you have some areas that have pet stains or water damage (i.e. they have turned black), then the best thing to do is replace those hardwood boards and weave in. 


If you have oak flooring, this is usually fairly simple to do (assuming you have a professional do the work – it’s important to match the species of oak as well as grade and important to have someone with the skills to properly weave it in).  From there, after you sand and refinish, the floors should integrate well and look seamless.   This does cost a bit extra for labor and materials, but it is usually the better way to go (unless you hardwood is very old and/or very difficult to match).  Alternatively, you could choose a darker stain to cover up the darker portions of the hardwood.


Q. What if there is damage to the floor or sections where hardwood is missing?
See above…this is usually very solvable as we can usually weave in additional wood, especially if you have oak flooring.


westchester county hardwood floor sandingQ. Will I need to move my furniture?
Some of our customers prefer to move the furniture themselves; others prefer that we do the moving.  It is up to you.  We are happy to help either way.


Q. Where do I store my furniture?
Most of our customers use other parts of their home – areas that may have tile or carpet.  Sometimes, we can move it to the basement or garage.  Sometimes, we can do the job in 2 phases to accommodate space for the furniture.  A few of our customers use a storage container (such as PODS).


Q. When can we walk on the floors?
On average, you can walk on the floors approximately 24  hours after the application of the final coat.  We recommend that for hours 24-48 that you wear socks only – no shoes, no bare feet.  Click here for more info on How long does it take to refinish hardwood floors.


sand and refinish oak floors in westchester NYQ. When can our pets walk on the floor?
It’s best to wait two days before cats walk on the floors.  Dogs should stay off the hardwood floors for 2 weeks…don’t shoot the messenger.


I know…2 weeks seems like an eternity.  I grew up with a Golden retriever, so I get it.  If you don’t have tile in the kitchen, here’s a great work around – try some doggie socks.

hardwood floor protective socks

Hardwood floor sanding questions


Q. When can we put our area rugs back down on the floor?
We recommend that you wait 4  weeks after the job is complete before putting area rugs back in place. This allows adequate time for the floors to cure.


Q. How long will the finish last?
The lifestyle of the home determines how long the finish will last. With regular maintenance cleaning, a floor finish can last many years., often 7-10 yrs.   When the finish becomes dull there are several professional service maintenance methods, such as a screen and recoat (see below) which can available to restore the luster without sanding.  Also, click here for tips on How to prevent scratches on your hardwood floors.


refinish restore pine floors westchester NYQ. What is a Screen and Recoat?  What is floor buffing?  Would that work for my floors?
A screen and recoat is synonym for floor buffing.  It’s a non-invasive method where you buff/abrade the hardwood floors so that you can add an extra coat of polyurethane.  It allows you to add sheen to floor and an extra layer of protection.  It works if your floors are in good condition from a color perspective.  It will not solve scratches through the color, but if your floors are in good shape, it will protect the color longer.  It’s an affordable cosmetic maintenance method that isn’t messy.  You have the option of making the floors shinier or less shiny – you can choose from matte, satin, semi-gloss or glossy finishes.  Read more here: What is a screen and recoat?


Q. Do I have to move all my furniture out for a screen and recoat?
Yes.  See above.


Q. How can I tell if my floors need a screen and recoat rather than a complete refinishing?
A screen and recoat is a cosmetic method that adds a clear coat of poly.  Not all floor conditions are candidates for this process. Floors should be in a decent condition with the existing color in good shape.  It will take care of minor scratches and dullness; it will not solve deep gauges nor scratches in the color.


restore and buff hardwood floors in westchesterQ. Is there a lot of dust with the a screen and recoat?
A screen and recoat is pretty clean process.  The floors are NOT sanded; rather they are just lightly buffed to abrade the existing finish allowing additional coats of finish to adhere. This gives your floor added protection and sheen. 


Q. How long does a Screen and recoat take?
Most jobs only take one day to complete, but it ultimately depends on the size and scope of the job.

Q. How many coats of finish are applied and is it water or oil based?
Usually, we add 1 coat of polyurethane, but occasionally, customers would prefer 2 coats, especially if it’s a heavy traffic area such as a kitchen.  You may choose from 4 sheen levels: Gloss, Semi-Gloss, Satin and Matte.  Currently, satin is the most popular sheen.


Q.  Can you refinish pine floors?  How about pine steps?

Usually  you can refinish pine floors, provided that they are in relatively good condition and thick enough to refinish.  They will often be a slightly different color vs. oak flooring as the wood species and graining are different and they absorb stains differently. You can read more about this here.  Can you refinish pine floors?


screen and recoat and buff hardwood floors in westchesterQ. How long after service can I walk on the floors?
Usually, you can walk on the floors approximately 24  hours after the job is complete.


Q: What advice do you have to prolong the finish on hardwood floors?
The best piece of advice I can give you is to take your shoes off while inside.  It is amazing what a big impact this can have.  Also, it’s important to use felt pads underneath furniture (especially chairs) and entry mats at the doorways.  Click here for more advice on How to prevent scratches on your hardwood floors.


Q: Can plastic tips on my chairs prevent scuff marks on my floors?
hardwood floor protective felt furniture padsIndustry experts say that felt pads on chairs are a better option than plastic tips, which can mark floors.  Also, we recommend that you stay away from rolling chairs as these tend to do a lot of damage to hardwood floors.

christmas tree protector








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FAQ’s for Hardwood floor refinishing – Frequently asked questions – Westchester County


26 thoughts on “FAQ’s for Hardwood floor refinishing in Westchester County”

  1. I live in Scarsdale. With two kids and one dog. The dog has been very rough on our family room/kitchen area and I was hoping to have this room evaluated and estimated. My phone number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you. Tom
    p.s. very nice website you have …

  2. Had our hardwoods refinished using Glitsa method/products. They didn’t wait long enough before applying the second coat and the floor bubbled. They came back and did a rescreen but there are still many areas where the finish isn’t even. Do I fire them and start over with another company? Beyond frustrated!

    1. So sorry to hear this. Yes, usually, if they haven’t waited long enough and you are seeing a reaction, you will need to start over and fully refinish. This is more likely to happen if the issue is between the stain and the poly. If it’s just some minor bubbles, sometimes (but not always), this can be fixed during the screening process. It’s hard to say…you need to have a professional look at it in person. You may want to get a 2nd opinion. Or, you may want to have your current team try to screen in 1 room or something to see if that will work.

    1. David – Yes, you can. I would use Bona Traffic – either in Semi gloss or glossy and screen and recoat. If you are looking for even shinier, you could try oil based poly in semi gloss, but I’d wait at least 6 months.

  3. My daughter & husband bought a home & living room wood floor needs to have old wax removed then refinished. Is there a solution other than sanding?

    1. No, that will need to be fully sanded and refinished to remove the wax (assuming you want to use a polyurethane). I suppose it may be possible to find an alternative and more expensive option if you use a different type of finish (e.g. monocoat/oiled floor), but this will cost you more money and will create a lot more maintenance and ongoing costs for you. And, if then, you’d be better off refinishing the floors as you would probably need to do that so the oil penetrates the wood. Also, and I haven’t seen this done for years, I suppose you may be able to wax the floors. I think you would need to wax them once a month. So, I’d suggest sanding the floors.

  4. How can I figure out what kind of wood my floors are made out of? It was built in 1874 and has different wood in different places. I want to restore not replace the floors if possible.

    1. Sarah – Based on the time period, it’s more likely you have some forms of pine. One way to find out is to bring a local hardwood expert in. Another is to take pictures and go to a hardwood forum where you can upload them – try…I think that’s the right address, but not 100% positive.

  5. Screen and re-coat is doable as long as the prior floor was a similar type finish? Water based to water-based and oil-to-oil? Or does it not matter what poly product was used previously?

    1. Greg – Usually, yes water to water or oil to oil works best. And, you can do water over oil if you wait 6 months. If you have prefinished wood, then you will need 2 coats of poly for a screen and recoat and safer to use water as many prefinished woods have a combo of oil and water.

  6. Hi. I’m having my hardwood floors finished and the contractors put red paper down less than 24 hours after applying poly in order to compete the rest of the job, e.g., painting. Should I be concerned about this impacting the finish?

    Thank you

    1. Erik – Yes, I would be concerned. I would have it removed and let them know the potential issue and make sure work is put on hold for a few days so that the floors can properly cure. They should have waited 4 days…assuming it was oil based poly. It’s not quite as bad if it was water borne poly. For water borne poly, I’d recommend 3 days, but 2 days might have been sufficient.

      Less than 24 hours isn’t good…they shouldn’t have even walked on the floors at that point, let alone cover them (assuming it’s oil based poly).

  7. You reference several places to go ‘natural’ on white oak floors for a cool toned floor. Are you referring to the Bona ‘Natural’ Stain – or would you just use the Bona NaturalSeal?
    In either scenario, I would be using 3 coats of Bona Traffic HD finish.
    We are trying to avoid a yellow/red hue to the floor and trying to preserve the look of the raw, sanded white oak floor (#2 grade).
    We are having our floors redone tomorrow, after a stain mishap, and would love a quick answer if at all possible! We’ve been reading your blog obsessively for the last year and really appreciate how helpful it has been to help us narrow down our options.
    Thank you

    1. Derek – I’m so sorry for the delay in responding. I get tons of comments and questions…I’m more than 600 behind. Anyway, when I said natural, I just meant no stain. But, for the sealer, yes, you can use Bona’s natural or if you want a bit whiter/cooler/lighter, you can even try Bona NordicSeal as it is slightly tinted white to give you a lighter/more natural look or light whitewashed look if you do 2 coats.

  8. How often should I expect to screen and recoat a water based finish (gray floor) if I use 3 coats of Bona Traffic initially.

  9. I’ve heard that water base finishes have come a long way since they started. No more white line syndrome. Is that true?

  10. What stain or sealer and polyurethane was used on the floors in the picture of light oak wood floors in the upper right hand corner of you web page? Thank you!

  11. I just had new flooring installed (engineered unfinished walnut) and I’m seeing many small streaks in the finish and it looks like the wood didn’t absorb either the sealer or poly uniformly. There are “blotchy” spots may be the best way to describe it. The contractor is saying its just knots in the wood but some of the streaks go across multiple planks or are going against the grain. Many also appear to be in a small semi-circle shape which makes me think it could be a sanding issue.

    When they finished the floors they sanded and then put down 1 coat of Bona ClassicSeal. After waiting only an hour they buffed and put down the first coat of Bona Mega. After another 90 minutes(?) they buffed and put down the second coat of Bona Mega. I then pointed out that I paid for Traffic HD so they came back 3 hours later and put down the Traffic without buffing or even wiping the floors.

    How likely is it that the issues were caused by a poor job sanding versus not waiting enough time between coats? I’ve convinced them to redo the floors begrudgingly (they say there’s no issues) and want to ensure they don’t make the same mistake again.

    1. Tag – It sounds like the floors weren’t sanded properly. You should not have those sanding marks at all. Then, it sounds like there are potential issues after that. I would bring in a local expert to look at the floors or an inspector. It sounds like the floors need to be completely resanded and start over. It also sounds like you’re currently not dealing with a reputable, competent or honest installer so get your ducks in a row so you can take action. Sorry about your troubles.

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